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ARLINGTON (1080 KRLD) – A North Texas family has opened a lawsuit that includes not only Japan’s Takata Corporation, but Honda and a local Vandergriff auto dealership, following an incident with an airbag.

In a new lawsuit, the Giddens family says they nearly lost their daughter Courtnie in 2014, when an exploding Takata airbag left her scarred. Courtnie was 17-years-old at the time, and got the 2001 Honda Accord as a belated birthday present.

Then the mail brought a recall notice from Takata. Courtnie took the car in, but was told to come back the next day since Vandergriff Honda didn’t have the parts.

“She was a little uneasy about that, wondering if it was safe,” says Mark Sudderth, the family’s attorney. “So her parents spoke to the manager. They were told it was unlikely the car was affected, and if she wore her seatbelt she’d be fine.”

But that very night, Courtnie was involved in a minor chain reaction crash. Her car barely tapped the one in front of her, but it caused the airbag to explode.

“It went off like a bomb,” says Sudderth. “It sent shrapnel into her face, did a lot of damage to her nose and chest. She’s still needing several surgeries right now.”

(credit: Giddens Family)

(credit: Giddens Family)

The Giddens’ lawsuit claims Honda and Takata were negligent, and didn’t take necessary steps to fix the situation. “The claims against the dealership obviously concern them putting her back into that car and onto the road when it had a faulty airbag,” says Sudderth.

Vandergriff Honda has not commented.

Only a few weeks ago, the Takata recall doubled in size across the country. Estimates say it will take up to three years before every recall notice is sent, and every airbag is replaced.

In April, a 17 year old girl was killed in Houston when her Takata airbag exploded during a minor accident.
Sudderth says he thinks Takata is scrambling at this point.

“There were a lot of problems early on with Takata refusing to acknowledge this problem,” he says. “They had to be threatened into taking any action at all. I think right now they are making effort to prioritize which cars are most dangerous. Older cars with higher mileage need to be addressed immediately.”

Sudderth says they’re hoping to come to a settlement with Takata, Honda and Vandergriff before the case has to go to court.

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